Dirty PI Anthony Pellicano was recently released from prison. He had served 16 years after being convicted in 2008 of 76 counts of racketeering, wiretapping, wire fraud, and computer fraud. Prior to this prison time, Pellicano had served 30 months on explosives charges after the FBI found grenades and C-4 plastic explosives in his safe during the 2002 execution of a search warrant.
In his heyday, Pellicano was one of America’s most infamous Dirty PI’s. He was known as the “Sin Eater” in Hollywood as he could make problems disappear. He was the ultimate fixer whose clients included Michael Jackson, Brad Grey, and former CAA exec Michael Ovitz. Pellicano originally made his name when, as a young expert on electronics and sound, he claimed to have deciphered the sound of a second shooter from an open police microphone. This gave rise to the “second gunman on the grassy knoll” during the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Our story here takes a deep dive into how wiretapped recordings of Nicole Kidman made during her divorce from Tom Cruise were found in Pellicano’s safe during an FBI raid of his office. The FBI also found thousands of hours of other wiretapped recordings of celebrities in Pellicano’s safe. For some interesting background on Pellicano, we recommend The Hollywood Reporter’s Anthony Pellicano Prison Interview: Hollywood’s Notorious Fixer on His Victims, Enablers and a Coming Release.
In Alex Gibney’s Oscar-winning HBO documentary on Scientology entitled Going Clear, former #2 Scientology executive Mark “Marty” Rathbun reveals that Tom Cruise drifted away from the Church of Scientology in the 1990’s. During the fifteen month period when Cruise was making the 1999 Stanley Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut with then wife Nicole Kidman, Rathbun describes how Cruise was not in contact with Church leader David Miscavige for about a year. This greatly displeased Miscavige who ordered Rathbun to recover Tom Cruise and bring him back into the Church of Scientology.
A Scientology analysis of the situation indicated that Nicole Kidman, a Catholic, was the problem as she was not inclined to practice any Scientology at all. Worse, Scientology perceived that she pushing her husband to stay away from Scientology as well. Tom Cruise was not happy with the situation. According to Going Clear, Tom Cruise insinuated to Rathbun that Kidman should be wiretapped. Rathbun relayed this to order to Church leader David Miscavige who ordered it be done. The handwriting was on the wall: Scientology had to find a way to break up the marriage of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in order to bring Tom Cruise back into the fold.
What are the ways in which the Church of Scientology could have arranged for Nicole Kidman to be wiretapped?
We offer some interesting context and perspectives for Scientology watchers in this installment of the Scientology Money Project where our goal is to unravel the Church of Scientology’s money and legal labyrinth. In doing so, we seek to expose the ways in which Scientology is a law unto itself and routinely acts in violation of public policy.
The surprise that emerges in our look at how Scientology might have wiretapped Nicole Kidman is how Tom Cruise became entangled in this sordid matter for ten years due to a dirty private investigator.
Before we proceed to our timeline of Scientology, wiretapping, and Nicole Kidman, we must ask if Scientology dictator Captain David Miscavige has the capabilities to have people wiretapped.
The answer is yes.
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard certainly had the capabilities to wiretap both individuals and government agencies and he did. Specifically, the Church of Scientology under Hubbard had its own private Mafia called the Guardian’s Office or “the GO” as it was called.
The GO engaged in dirty tricks, stalking, harassment, wiretapping, and anything else Hubbard ordered. This is why the Church of Scientology was raided by the FBI on July 8, 1977 in the largest ever raid conducted by the FBI. The raid was in response to a series of burglaries, theft of documents, and wiretapping Scientology had engaged in against US Government agencies. This Scientology program of domestic espionage was called Operation Snow White and it led to Hubbard’s wife and ten other top Scientology-GO officials being sent to prison.
After the FBI raids, Scientology’s GO was melted down and reformed into the Office of Special Affairs, or OSA. Despite Scientology telling the IRS that everyone in the GO had been purged, the Church lied and kept select former GO operatives working for its new OSA.
OSA is Scientology’s private Mafia and secretly reports to David Miscavige through intermediaries. This is done to maintain the fiction that David Miscavige, who commands a Scientology corporation called the Religious Technology Center, does not manage the daily affairs of the Church of Scientology International. Miscavige pierces the corporate veils and Scientology is his alter ego. In order to avoid any legal action finding him to be the managing agent of all Scientology, intermediaries and secrecy are necessary.
OSA conducts both overt and covert psycho-terrorism operations against those who speak out against the Church. These psycho-terrorist operations are called Fair Game in Scientology. Miscavige engage in Fair Game campaigns, in part, by employing a small army of non-Scientology lawyers and even more Dirty PI’s hired by these lawyers. Scientology finances its Fair Game operations using 501(c)(3) religious tax-exempt dollars.
When Nicole Kidman got in Scientology’s way of retrieving Tom Cruise, she was suddenly the target of a secret OSA program to destroy her marriage. This program succeeded. A secondary goal was to get Cruise and Kidman’s two adopted children – Connor and Bella – to disconnect from their mother and remain in Scientology with their father. This program also succeeded.
David Miscavige and OSA have the capabilities to wiretap people using dirty private investigators. Lawyers filter information obtained by Dirty PI’s back to OSA and David Miscavige in ways that give Scientology deniability and protection from lawsuits or arrest.
Acting upon secret orders relayed from Miscavige by Rathbun, it is possible that someone in OSA could have covertly arranged for the wiretapping of Nicole Kidman.
Alternately, and more likely, Marty Rathbun may have bypassed OSA on the wiretapping of Nicole Kidman and went directly to the unnamed “Scientology consigliere” who had the power to order wiretapping on behalf of David Miscavige. If so, the unnamed consigliere was very likely an attorney working for the Church of Scientology. In true Scientology fashion, the lawyer would have hired another lawyer who hired a private investigator to wiretap Nicole Kidman.
While Scientology always seeks to do its dirty work at a remove, the identity of a private investigator who wiretapped Nicole Kidman has been known for many years.
1999-2000: Efforts begin inside of the Church of Scientology to recover movie star Tom Cruise. David Miscavige orders Marty Rathbun to arrange the wiretapping of Nicole Kidman.
February 2001: Scientologist Tom Cruise files for divorce from Nicole Kidman. Cruise retains divorce attorney Dennis Wasser. When asked why he was divorcing Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise cryptically repeats to those who ask, “Ask Nicole. She knows.” This suggests that wiretapping had already taken place and Cruise had been provided with information about his wife’s behavior.
February 2001: ABC News reports that Tom Cruise is playing hardball in his divorce from Nicole Kidman. ABC News quotes the New York Daily News as having reported that Cruise had hired the infamous private investigator Anthony Pellicano:
MEGASTAR TOM CRUISE ISN’T LOOKING TO PLAY THE GOOD GUY IN HIS DIVORCE FROM WIFE NICOLE KIDMAN, ACCORDING TO PEOPLE MAGAZINE.
CRUISE, 38, REPORTEDLY SHOCKED KIDMAN, 33, BY RUSHING TO FILE FOR DIVORCE ONLY TWO DAYS AFTER THE PAIR ANNOUNCED THEIR SEPARATION. “NICOLE IS NOT UPSET,” AN UNIDENTIFIED FRIEND TELLS THE MAGAZINE, “SHE IS DEVASTATED.”
“HE IS PLAYING HARDBALL,” FAMILY-LAW ATTORNEY LYNN SOODIK, WHO IS REPRESENTING MEG RYAN IN HER DIVORCE FROM DENNIS QUAID, TELLS THE MAGAZINE, REFERRING TO CRUISE’S DIVORCE PETITION, WHICH REPORTEDLY SPELLS OUT THE ACTOR’S INTENTION TO BLOCK KIDMAN FROM MAKING ANY ALIMONY CLAIMS.
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR REPORTEDLY HIRED
NO LAWYERS ACTUALLY WORKING FOR CRUISE OR KIDMAN WILL COMMENT TO THE PRESS, BUT THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REPORTS THAT THE MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE STAR IS HIRING PRIVATE-INVESTIGATOR-TO-THE-STARS ANTHONY PELLICANO.
PELLICANO, WHOSE CLIENT LIST INCLUDES MICHAEL JACKSON, FARRAH FAWCETT, SYLVESTER STALLONE, JAMES WOODS, AND NOTORIOUS FORMER LAPD DETECTIVE MARK FUHRMAN, HAS BEEN LABELED “THE BIG SLEAZY” BY GQ MAGAZINE, ACCORDING TO THE DAILY NEWS.
“I ALWAYS START OUT BY BEING A GENTLEMAN. I ONLY USE INTIMIDATION AND FEAR WHEN I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO,” HE TOLD PEOPLE MAGAZINE IN 1993, WHEN HE WAS WORKING FOR MICHAEL JACKSON DURING THE POP STAR’S MOLESTATION TRIAL.
As of February 2001, then, there is a hard news story linking Tom Cruise to Anthony Pellicano.
November 21, 2002: The FBI raids the office of Los Angeles private investigator Anthony Pellicano and finds C-4 plastic explosives and hard drives containing hundreds of hours of wiretapped phone conversations. These hard drives include conversations Nicole Kidman had with various people. The evidence seized by the FBI offers irrefutable evidence that Nicole Kidman was wiretapped. This confirms Rathbun’s statement that Kidman was wiretapped.
It would take the FBI years to analyze the evidence seized in the raid on Pellicano’s office. In the interim, Pellicano is charged for illegal possession of C-4 plastic explosives.
October 2003: Pellicano pleads guilty to the explosives charge and is sentenced to thirty months in federal prison.
November 2003: Tom Cruise’s long-time personal lawyer Bert Fields publicly acknowledges that he is the subject of an FBI investigation into Anthony Pellicano and wiretapping. Fields denies any wrongdoing. People wonder if Tom Cruise will be pulled into the Pellicano wiretapping investigation.
February 2006: Upon his release from prison on the explosives conviction, Pellicano is immediately re-arrested on 110 counts that include wiretapping, racketeering, conspiracy, witness tampering, and identity theft.
March 2006: NY Daily News reports that Tom Cruise was questioned by the FBI about Anthony Pellicano and the wiretapping of Nicole Kidman.
March 2006: The New York Post reports that Nicole Kidman was questioned by the FBI about her having been wiretapped by Pellicano.
April 2006: The FBI names Cruise’s divorce attorney Dennis Wasser as a person of interest in the Pellicano case. From The New York Times article of April 26, 2007:
The New York Times article concludes with attorney Kolodny remarking unfavorably upon the character of Mr. Pellicano; this while Tom Cruise’s divorce lawyer extolled the virtues of Mr. Pellicano:
July 2006: In an article about Pellicano, the New Yorker confirmed that Tom Cruise had hired Anthony Pellicano:
AP on the indictment of Pellicano and his accomplices:
The indictment said Mark Arneson, a veteran police sergeant, received at least $189,000 from Pellicano to search law enforcement databases for “confidential, embarrassing or incriminating″ information. More than 60 people were run through police databases, including comedians Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealon, the indictment said.
According to the indictment, Rayford Earl Turner, an employee of SBC and Pacific Bell at the time, received at least $36,655 from Pellicano “for the purpose of obtaining proprietary telephone company information and facilitating illegal wiretaps.″ Turner retired in 2001.
The indictment also charged Robert Pfeifer, former president of Hollywood Records, with wiretapping. His lawyer denied any wrongdoing on Pfeifer’s part.
Previously, a former Beverly Hills police officer arrested in the investigation pleaded guilty to fraud and unauthorized computer access.
The racketeering aspect of the 2008 Pellicano criminal trial are evident: Pellicano paid two Dirty Cops and a phone company employee a great deal of money to illegally collect information and wiretap phones. Down at the dirty street level, Scientology — at several layers of remove and deniability — got what it needed on Nicole Kidman from Dirty PI Anthony Pellicano.
January 2009: Anthony Pellicano is convicted and sentenced to sixteen years in prison.
December 2009: Michael Sapir sues Tom Cruise for $5,000,000. Sapir alleges that Cruise hired Pellicano to illegally wiretap his phone in 2001. From TMZ:
THERE IS A LONG HISTORY BETWEEN CRUISE AND SAPIR. IN 2001, CRUISE SUED SAPIR FOR $100 MILLION AFTER SAPIR CLAIMED TO HAVE VIDEO EVIDENCE THAT CRUISE “ENGAGED IN A HOMOSEXUAL RELATIONSHIP.” THAT LAWSUIT SETTLED LATER THAT YEAR. IN THE SETTLEMENT, BOTH PARTIES ISSUED A STATEMENT SAYING THAT NO SUCH TAPE EXISTED.
IN THE LATEST SUIT, FILED FRIDAY IN L.A. COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT, SAPIR CLAIMS PELLICANO ILLEGALLY WIRETAPPED HIS PHONE DURING THE TIME THE 2001 LAWSUIT WAS ACTIVE.
SAPIR CLAIMS IN THE SUIT THAT CRUISE, FIELDS AND PELLICANO WERE ALL IN CAHOOTS.
N THE LATEST SUIT, FILED FRIDAY IN L.A. COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT, SAPIR CLAIMS PELLICANO ILLEGALLY WIRETAPPED HIS PHONE DURING THE TIME THE 2001 LAWSUIT WAS ACTIVE.
March 2013: Tom Cruise escapes the Sapir lawsuit when his attorney Bert Fields wins a motion for summary judgment. Hollywood Reporter:
…Sapir’s lawsuit against Cruise and Pellicano had other salacious tidbits. For example, Sapir also alleged that Pellicano taped recordings between Cruise and Nicole Kidman while the actors were going through their divorce.
But the lawsuit hasn’t survived. On Monday, a Los Angeles Superior Court ruled from the bench that the allegations weren’t brought within the statute of limitations… …Cruise joins Brad Grey as escaping Pellicano-related lawsuits thanks to the claims being time-barred. Many other lawsuits proceed, including one against Michael Ovitz for allegedly hiring Pellicano to intimidate Anita Busch. Recently, the same judge ruled that Ovitz has failed to show that he’s entitled to summary judgment on statute of limitation grounds.
What we know:
According to Marty Rathbun, Tom Cruise wanted Nicole Kidman wiretapped. Scientology leader Miscavige told Rathbun to make it happen. Miscavige didn’t want to know any of the details. Tom Cruise hired Anthony Pellicano during his divorce from Nicole Kidman. Cruise would have hired Pellicano through his attorney Bert Fields. It is also likely Fields would have hired another attorney to hire Pellicano. What we do know is that Bert Fields was thoroughly investigated by the FBI on the Pellicano matter as was his client Tom Cruise. Neither of the two men were charged.
The FBI found wiretapped recordings of Nicole Kidman’s phone calls during her divorce from Tom Cruise. These calls would have helped Tom Cruise’s divorce attorney Dennis Wasser gain a more favorable settlement for Tom Cruise. Scientology would have also gained information on Kidman to feedback to Cruise in a buffered manner. Cruise likes Dennis Wasser and used him in his divorce from Katie Holmes.
There was a dirty phone company employee involved in Pellicano’s extensive wiretapping operations. He went to prison.
Pellicano, an old school Sicilian, held to the code of Omerta and remained silent. He never flipped on any of his clients. He refused to cooperate with the Feds. This resulted in a longer prison sentence for him.
The Scientology Mafia offers protection to Scientology celebrities. OSA can even make certain very difficult people problems go away. However, like all services offered by the Mafia, these services can be very expensive and requite the services of Dirty PI’s. Several of Scientology’s Dirty PI’s have been caught and exposed. Those stories will be told.